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Engaging Audiences: What Does It Actually Mean?

Janine HanrahanSome people actually hate the word ‘Engagement’ in relation to talking about audiences for orchestras. Gene Carr, CEO of Patron Technology in the USA is one of them. And he is not alone.  The theory goes something like this: if we need to talk about engaging audiences, then we know we have a problem.  For the ADO, this seems like a moot point: there is a problem!  The real point of Mr. Carr’s response is to highlight that we seem to spend more time raising awareness of the problem, than tackling the problem head on.  Orchestra innovation expert, Greg Sandow, is also ambivalent about the concept of the ‘engaged audience‘ suggesting that it is a danger sign that “something’s missing” in a contributed blog on Matt Lehrman’s influential page (Audience Wanted) on the website.

Whereas we broadly agree with Greg’s sentiment, it’s not quite as easy to compare the pop music marketing machine revelling in dissecting, for example, the minutiae of Kanye’s preferred [insert any object or product here] to his army of doting (read: engaged) fan base: a machine driven by huge promotional dollar spends, widespread and increasingly convergent media coverage (often unrelated to the music-making accomplishments or performances of Mr. West, or any similar high-profile entertainers) to the comparatively small marketing budget and de-emphasized media exposure of classical music.  Of course, we wish it were otherwise.  Who wouldn’t want to see classical music press push some of the more inane popular music coverage off the front-page off the primary media outlets! But is it really plausible for the classical music industry to achieve similar level of media saturation coverage? Continue Reading →

An Incredible Response In Two Weeks

Well, to suggest that we are excited about the initial response to our initial call for Expressions-of-Interest to perform wit the ADO would be an understatement.  We’re blown away and pleased with the comments and feedback received from musicians excited at the prospect of joining us in our 2016 inaugural season of concert events.Briony_Buys

Whereas we can’t guess where applications are going to come from in Australia, we can tell you that in the first two weeks of putting the call out, we have received EoIs from every state other than the Northern Territory – but we fully expect that to change.  Incredibly – and we didn’t expect this in all honesty – we are also receiving them from Australian orchestral musicians currently living in Europe.  We think that’s impressive!

To more practical matters:  we’re going to add a few more FAQ answers to the the ADO FAQ page in the next day or so about per-call fees for ADO musicians, as well as some more information about the actual online audition procedure to be found at  As the first Australian orchestra to use this incredible new vacancy platform, we have had the pleasure of working with the guys at to customise the audition process especially for the Australian Discovery Orchestra. The process is easy to complete and entirely secure.

Our first Newsletter will be released shortly as well, so sign up on the ADO front page to receive your copy. And you don’t need to be concerned, we will never disclose your E-mail address to anyone else. The newsletter includes information about orchestra initiatives around the world focused on re-examining the benefits of foregrounding the classical music experience into our everyday lives, as well as a link to a piece by our Artistic Director on the importance of re-shaping the orchestral music experience for audiences in the 21st-Century and why this brings so many exciting challenges.



We Begin Where We Ended

By: Kevin Purcell

I am delighted to have been asked to write the first blog on the Australian Discovery Orchestra web site.  As the ADO has yet to give a performance to share, the closest thing we have is an excerpt from a 2010 concert given by the Tasmania Discovery Orchestra conducted by the late, Myer Fredman.

This is fitting in several ways. Most importantly it shows the work of the British-born Maestro, in the twilight of an extraordinary life – notably as one of the finest Opera conductors Australia has seen – as well as providing the merest of glimpses of his consumate artistry during the ‘Indian Summer’ of his musical life. Myer passed away on July 4, 2014. He was 82 years young.

Secondly, the footage shows the depth of individual and collective talent of Australian orchestral musicians – notably spanning several decades – who came together from all across Australia up to four times per year (and sometimes even more) to perform masterworks from the orchestral repertoire mixed in with additional concerts of the American Songbook. With few exceptions (excluding the cast of professional Opera singers highlighted in this video) none of the TDO’s instrumentalists were engaged in full-time musical activities. Their musical commitment and resultant efforts are truly wonderful to hear and watch.

In 2016, the Australian Discovery Orchestra will pick up from where its ‘heyday’ activities left off under its previous (but different) guise, in the full knowledge that an orchestra like the ADO is a very much needed enterprise in the artistic life of Australia. The difference five years on is that computer and Internet technologies have advanced to a degree that the ADO is now able do things which, for all intent and purposes, were previously impractical (even in 2010). Continue Reading →